Bay decides to let it be
By RACHEL AFFLICK firstname.lastname@example.org
PEOPLE in Byron Shire who apply to build houses or units for use as short-term holiday lettings will no longer be subject to council scrutiny.
The council yesterday voted with a 5-4 majority not to assess development applications on the basis of proposed use, such as whether applicants intend to lease their residential home to holiday-makers.
Some councillors were concerned the issue was 'muddying the waters' of their development application process and creating 'policy on the run'.
But councillors voting against the motion claimed it only served to legitimise illegal holiday letting and could result in invalid consents.
Council John Lazarus said it would undermine the way council had managed the development of the area for many years.
"If you know it's going to be tourist accommodation when it's put to council staff, you can't consent it. What the hell is council playing at?" he said.
Byron Bay resident Maggi Luke described the decision yesterday as 'very sad for the town.' "It's going to ruin Byron," she said.
"It means the local residents won't have peace in their own homes. It means rents will go up, and it means Byron Bay will turn into a ghost town because no locals will live here anymore."
Maggi said she was worried about the safety of people living in some of the holiday lettings around town. But she was also worried about the effect on neighbourhoods.
In her own neighbourhood in Lilli Pili there were several people using their homes as holiday lettings and it was ruining the peace.
"It's like living in a caravan park because you've got strangers coming and going all the time," she said.
The council decision comes just weeks after it was taken to court for refusing an application by a developer to create holiday lettings in a residential area.
Councillors who voted for the motion yesterday included Crs Woods, Mangleson, Tucker, Tardif and Kestle.